Enterprise in Schools
What is an entrepreneur? The World Book dictionary sites an entrepreneur as "a person who organizes and manages a business or industrial undertaking. An entrepreneur takes the risk of not making a profit and gets the profit when there is one." Entrepreneurs can be found all around us. The family who has run the green grocery on your street corner are entrepreneurs, so are people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Entrepreneurship occurs on local, national and international levels.
Who can be an entrepreneur? Anyone with an idea and a flare for working for themselves can find employment, self employment.
At the high school level each student must receive 2 credits in economic education in Newfoundland. Many students choose the option of the course, Enterprise 3205. In fact,in a recent survey of students at Bishops College in St. John's, 60% of students taking the course found it to be an important part of their studies. For the rest the course was simply something they did for credits. I wanted to find out as much as I could about this course so I went straight to the source, an enterprise teacher. I spoke with Mr. Howard about his views on the course, his background and the curriculum. At the current moment he was pleased with the program. He said it "covers all the important aspects. It gives an introduction to business, how to create a business plan and how to maximize your business' chances at an enterprise showcase.
Howard found there to be a great importance behind the course, that some people may not always see. "A lot of the skills from the class will be used in everyday life. Whether it be to open your own business in 5 or 10 years time or perhaps in working for someone else. Howard has two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics along with a minor in business and a teaching degree. When he pursued teaching and the schools found out about his background in business they began slotting him in as an enterprise teacher.
This course is divided into 2 distinct separate terms. The fall term consists of case studies of other businesses, workbook work and a class project. For the class project all the students have to work together to carry off a business venture. Some examples of these projects are a fashion show, haunted house and selling Newfoundland board games. This term prepares you for opening your own business in the spring. After mid term exams, students are asked to form small groups or work alone to market their very own business idea. Everyone is encouraged to do what ever they please, so people expanded their hobbies to form businesses, such as selling brownies and fudge at lunch time, while others explored unknown areas of interest.
In each class there are businesses who sell products and others who sell services. Some people make their own products, like homemade lip gloss,while others sell other people's products, such as school jackets. The whole point of this activity is to teach students how to prepare a business plan. They cover contracts, financial plans, marketing plans and business surveys. The course concluded with the Enterprise Fair. Here students set up a display and have an opportunity to sell their products to new markets. These fairs are held at school, regional and provincial levels. There are prizes and scholarships awarded to the winners for their projects if they happen to place in the fair.
In a province where tertiary industries are where the majority of jobs are found, this course helps the youth of Newfoundland get a foot in the business world door even before they graduate high school. From this course you learn real life skills, that you will need to use in your lifetime.